Friday, December 9, 2011

Author Spotlight: Perry Martin PLUS a Giveaway!

Today, I would like to extend a warm welcome to author Perry Martin! 

Perry has graciously offered to one lucky winner a signed copy of his novel, Pretty Flamingo as well as one ebook!  From now until December 21st @ midnight, all you have to do is post a comment below and you will be entered!  That's it!  How easy is that?

Please specify in your comment your preference for a softcover or hardback and don't forget to leave your email address!  Good luck!

1. What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far? 

I've written one book so far.   My first book, "Pretty Flamingo" would probably be considered a Romance/Drama, although there is an element of mystery to it, as well.  I have ideas for two other books - - one of which I am working on now - - neither of which fit into the category of my first book, so I may have to invent a category for my books.
2.  When is your next book being published?

I'm not sure but probably late next year - - 2012.  Right now there's a lot going on regarding my first book.  It's in the hands of an up-and-coming Australian film director, who is interested in writing the screenplay for it and possibly even directing it.  My business partner, Sandy Hockenbery, is an independent film producer and she has always seen "Pretty Flamingo" as a movie.
3.  When did you start writing, and what inspires you the most?

I've been a musician most of my life, and a songwriter, and enjoyed a considerable amount of success in the Far East - - Hong Kong in particular.  I'd always wanted to write, though and figured it would be something I'd do "later in life".  One day, back in 2010, I woke up and discovered, to my horror, that "later in life" had arrived!  So, I started exploring ideas and my writing career began.

Most of my inspiration for "Pretty Flamingo" came from actual personal experience.  Suffice it to say that I've lived an "interesting" life and I drew on that for many of the scenes.    I do know that I want to create characters that the reader cares about and become emotionally involved with.  I also believe very much in the spiritual nature of man and that drives me to write stories that explore that aspect.  "Pretty Flamingo" definitely has an element of that in it and the novel I am working on now, even more so.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, I get very inspired by the idea that what I am doing, and the success I have, will inspire others.

4.  Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?  Why or why not?

I actually didn't pick a specific genre when I started writing "Pretty Flamingo", it was just a story I really wanted to tell.  Once I'd finished it, I realized I'd have to somehow categorize it.  There's definitely a romance at the heart of it, plus some very dramatic elements, but the whole story is also written as a mystery that unravels gradually and the reader uncovers the truth, little by little, along with the central character.  Once I'd settled on it being a Romance/Drama I thought to myself, "Okay, so am I going to be a Romance/Drama writer?"  Then, the next idea came along and it didn't quite fit into that mold.  There's a romance of sorts, but it's between two 12-year olds, so that's not your typical romance.  Again, there's also a dramatic element and a mystery that drives the plot along.  I'd probably have to put my next novel in the Drama genre although there is something of the paranormal about it - - think along the lines of Stephen King's "Hearts in Atlantis". 

I guess I'll probably bounce around from genre to genre from the looks of it.  I just want to write really engrossing, character-driven stories that touch the reader emotionally and also make them think. 

 5.  Tell us about your creative writing process.

I'll write a synopsis first - - however long that might be - - so that I know where the story is going and what the point of it is.  After that I'll list all the characters, descriptions of them, what their needs and desires are and their relationship to the protagonist. Then I'll look at how I can chop that up into scenes and chapters that can be expanded on.  I like to write the beginning and the end first.  I find that helps keep me focused on what I want to achieve.  Both "Pretty Flamingo" and the novel I am currently working on, have very emotional endings.  I refer to the ending from time to time to inspire me to keep writing and lead the reader to those final pages.

Then, I write a mini synopsis of each chapter I write, making sure that each scene keeps the story moving along.  Having written the end first comes in handy then, for me at least, because it helps me write things that contribute to the final chapter.

I actually write my first draft by hand, in a spiral-bound notebook.  I take the notebook with me wherever I go so that when inspiration strikes I can immediately write it down.  Then, at the end of each day, or the end of the week depending on my work schedule (I'm not a full-time author yet), I transfer everything to my computer and that becomes my second draft.  I've learned that you shouldn't spend forever on your first draft.  Just tell the story and then go back and fix it.   (My first novel went through seven or eight re-writes).

Writing, for me, is a pleasure (even when it's pulling blood, sweat and tears out of me, which "Pretty Flamingo did - - especially tears) and when I'm doing revisions I'll generally grab a glass of wine, something to nibble on, light some candles and find a mellow New Age music station on my computer.  That works the best for me.  I've read a lot of advice from successful authors and they seem to be divided on how one should write.  Some say you should write only when you're in the mood - - which is my philosophy - - while others contend that you should force yourself even when you don't want to.  I find I get more done the other way but, in the final analysis, what's right is what works for you.  At the end of the day, when your book hits the bestseller list, who cares how you wrote it?

6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?

Wow!  That's a tough one.  Can I get back to you on that?  Seriously, though I'd have to list a few but I'll try and keep the list short.

PAST: Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick because they were both visionaries.  PAST AND PRESENT: Stephen King because he just tells such original stories and I love his writing.   PRESENT: Elmore Leonard because nobody writes "street smart" dialogue better than him.  Nicholas Sparks because I like a good cry every now and then.  (I know, that's kind of weird for a guy.  Call it "research" for the emotional parts of my novels.)
7.  What motivates you to continue writing?

The hope that I can continue to affect people emotionally with my stories and leave them feeling that the time and money invested in my novel was more than worth it.  And, that one of my novels will eventually be turned into a movie that wins Best Picture of the Year!

8.  How do you get ideas for your stories?

I got lucky with "Pretty Flamingo" in that much of what I describe actually happened - - either to me or someone I knew.  Because of that the story pretty much wrote itself.  With my second novel I drew on a single, traumatic experience from my childhood and built a whole story around it.  Still more recently, I'd found myself thinking about the prospect of getting old and it got me thinking about what, in my life, I would go back and re-experience, if I could.  I went to sleep the other night with that thought in my head and woke up at around 2:30 am with the whole idea for a third book.  I couldn't get back to sleep until I'd written the whole synopsis.

I realize none of what I just described really explains how I get idea, just that I do.  To quote the protagonist in my second book who, coincidentally enough, is a songwriter:  "I worry that if I think too much about where the ideas come from, they'll stop coming."

9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?

Probably playing music.  I still do, actually, about once a month - - just to keep my hand in.  But it's not something I want to make a career of anymore.  The writing bug has pretty much gotten hold of me and since I know I have at least two more books in me I'm going to go for it.

10.  Give us an insider look into your latest novel.

DAVID PERRY is a  transplanted Aussie who’s been a resident of California since 1983.  A youthful-looking 51 year-old, David has made a good life for himself - - materially.  A personal failing, however, has been his inability to give himself completely to any woman.  Sometimes he swears he can almost feel something holding him back - - preventing him from giving his all.

David wakes in the early hours one morning to find that he is crying and he experiences a longing that surprises him with its’ depth of emotion. He reviews the failure of his latest relationship and can find nothing even remotely resembling the feelings of loss and desolation he was experiencing upon wakening.

The next day David finds himself reminiscing about his teenage years in Australia.   Sifting through his memories David encounters a completely blank 6-month period of his life.  It’s as if it has been wiped from his mind with only a few fragmented images available to his recall.  Over the next few days David experiences brief flashbacks - - all centered around a mysterious blond-haired girl; a girl whose memory evokes the most incredible feeling of love and adoration within him.  Who is she?  These flashbacks are often accompanied by disturbing emotional and physical reactions and lead David to the conclusion that they are somehow connected to the missing months.  What could have happened during that period?  And why and how had it been so effectively hidden from him?

From this point on, David will begin an emotional journey that will eventually uncover a part of his past he never knew existed.  He will discover a love so powerful that it transcended the purely physical; a loss so devastating that it changed his whole life and a promise that, if he can keep it, will return to him all that he cared most about in the whole world.

11.  If your novel made it to the big screen, what actors do you see playing the key characters?

David Perry, the protagonist as an adult?  Tom Cruise (In my dreams!).  Hailee-Steinfeld as the teen female lead.  Hugh Jackman in a part that won't endear him to many mothers but it sure is juicy.  Jessica Chastain as a young woman and the same character 35 years later. (She'll probably get an Oscar).  I haven't really thought beyond that but there are tough, challenging roles for many of the characters.  If you read the book you'll see what I mean.

12.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?

My worst experience - - and this is probably nothing compared to what some writers have experienced - - was not winning a Self-Published Novel competition I really thought my book should have won.  If that's the worst thing that happens to me I'll be okay with it.

My best experience was seeing how this novel was affecting people who read it, how much they loved it and the characters in it.  One reader said she never wanted the book to end!  That was exactly the effect I had set out to create.  That felt really good and pretty much convinced me that I should write more books.

13.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?

Five bestsellers under my belt, each of which are made into hit movies.  Happy, healthy, comfortable with my success and doing what I can to "pay it forward" and help other struggling writers to realize their dreams.

14.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?


Twitter (Book): @pfnovel
Twitter (Author): @8_8008

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